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1. Mister A's

Bertrand Hug's “elegant” French-American perched on the 12th floor of an office building in Bankers Hill is a “classic” spot to take visitors or celebrate a “special occasion” thanks to the “spectacular” bay and skyline views – particularly from the outdoor terrace; the “excellent” French-inflected fare is ferried by “polished”, “attentive” staffers, and though bills are “expensive”, it's “worth it for a special day.”


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2. Searsucker San Diego

“Innovative” New American fare, a “wicked assortment of specialty cocktails” and a “loud”, “lively” scene with primo “people-watching” are the draws at celeb chef Brian Malarkey's restaurants in Gaslamp and Del Mar; though some call the food “hit-or-miss”, service “snooty” and bills “on the expensive side”, most agree the “bar scene” is a lot of “fun.”


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3. Phil's BBQ

Phil's BBQ is an institution with mouth-watering barbecued meats worth waiting for. Meat falls off the bones and even onion rings carry the perfect ratio of crunch to flavor. It's Sports Arena location is void of views and character, barbecue devotees could care less about that or the potentially long lines. Try the pulled pork sandwich, tri tip sandwich or the beef ribs which reviewers say trump the baby back ribs any day. The barbecue sauce is on the sweeter side (just an FYI for those who prefer a more savory sauce). You'll order food at the register and then seat yourself.


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4. Bottega Americano

Fans “can’t rave enough” about this “stylish” East Village Italian with its “delicious” modern fare and “accommodating” service in a “cool”, all-white space that includes an on-site gourmet marketplace offering lots of options to go; it can get a bit “pricey”, but there's a “fabulous happy hour” where the drinks and snacks “outshine the price tag.”


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5. Indigo Grill

“Reimagined and better than ever”, this long-standing Cohn group spot in Little Italy now features new modern decor (including a “cool outdoor fire pit”) to go with its “adventurous” menu of “flavorful”, “Asian-Latin fusion plates” and “nice cocktails”; though prices aren’t cheap, the “fun” upbeat vibe enhanced by “friendly” service makes it a “go-to.”


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6. Truluck's

A “class act” all around, this upscale surf 'n' turf chain trades in a “wide selection of fresh fish”, “interesting specials” and “fantastic cocktails”, all deemed “a little pricey but worth it”; “friendly” staffers, live piano music and an excellent happy-hour menu extend the appeal; P.S. don't miss the “awesome” all-you-can-eat crab claws on Monday nights in season.


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7. Island Prime

“One of the best views in town” matches up with “excellent steaks and seafood” and an “extensive” wine and cocktail list at this Harbor Island waterfront stunner from the Cohn Restaurant Group; it's a little “pricey”, but pays off with “amazing” service and is a “great place to take out-of-towners”; P.S. the casual C-Level Lounge is a less costly option.


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8. Old Town Mexican Cafe

A cheery spot serving many standard Mexican dishes & authentic hand-pressed tortillas.


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9. Casa Guadalajara

Mexican eats with live mariachi music, indoors or on the vibrantly colorful outdoor patio.


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10. Bencotto

Bencotto means a meal "well done" or cooked perfectly in Italian. Voted Best Italian Restaurant by San Diego Magazine four years in a row, Bencotto puts a uniique spin on traditional Italian cuisine or regional specialties by offering dishes designed to share. The atmosphere is contemporary though mixed with the feel of an Old World kitchen. Pasta is the signature dish and guests can order it al dente or cooked to their liking choosing also between eight sauces. Bencotto is located in the "Q" building in Little Italy, open for lunch and prides itself on excellent customer service so if undecided ask the staff for a recommendation.


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